Hiring the best sales reps is a manager’s most sought after dream. Having been on both sides of the table, it’s very challenging to say the least. Matching and weighing up skills, experience, knowledge, character, team compatibility, etc.

But one of the key questions out there, is what can be taught and what is just magically within a salesperson. Let’s break it down.


What’s innate

  1. Personality Type: The good old extravert/introvert dichotomy, as explained by Jung. E/I personality types are not entirely decided upon through genetics, though a good part is “nature” and not “nurture”. Furthermore, once a person reaches adulthood, it’s very difficult to change such composure. Given the definition of both types, the more the person is extraverted, the more suitable he would be at sales. Within this mix comes charisma, self-confidence, and other aspects which are greatly affected by extraversion.
  2. Intelligence: We’ve got the two main IQ and EQ (Emotional Intelligence) types of intelligence. As with most psychological aspects, nothing is 100% DNA-bound, and both types are part determined naturally and part through the environment. The higher the IQ and the higher the EQ, the more a person can relate, and that’s a very operative word here, respectively to different logical connections in a short amount of time, and to different emotional states of their own and of other people. People will buy if what you’re saying makes a minimum amount of sense and if they’re happy.
  3. Physical Appearance: I know, I know. It’s not PC, but hey… It’s true. If you put the same personality into an attractive, well groomed person and into an unappealing unkept person, the former will simply sell more. It’s shallow, but so are humans to an extent. Again, it’s not 100% natural as personal effort and physical alterations can come into play. And because you’re already on edge about this topic, I’ll refrain from providing the psychological reasons behind this.


What’s acquired

  1. Knowledge: Raw information can very easily be crammed into a brain. As such, what’s important here is memory quality and a person’s ability (and willingness) to learn.
  2. Behavior: Behavior and Personality are two different things. Key takeaways are that behavior is built on top of personality, and that it’s much more malleable. Once we understand which components and characteristics of a human being fall under which, we can understand what can be changed and what can’t.
  3. Experience: This isn’t really a point of its own as much as it’s a result of the merger of the former two. Gaining experience in a nutshell is our ability to retain information, process it, analyze it and learn from it, and modify our behavior accordingly.


In conclusion, once you’ve identified what are your needs and must-haves for the role, you can categorize them using the above structure. Then, you can match them towards each candidate to see if they meet your expectations, or if they at least can. Nonetheless, don’t forget to listen to your instincts as well; they always knows something or see something that we don’t.